Child support in Oregon is a court-ordered payment made from one parent to another to pay for the care and support of their school-aged children. In Oregon, child support typically cannot be waived because the State takes the position that it is in the minor child’s best interests that children be supported financially by both parents. Oregon also requires that child support is paid until the child is no longer in school, which may include college until the age of twenty-one.
Typically, whichever parent spends more time with the couple’s children will receive an award of sole legal custody and be designated the “residential parent.” The residential parent will typically receive support from the non-custodial or non-residential parent. However, this may be counter-balanced by the fact that it is likely that the party with the greater income will bear a greater portion of the financial burden to support the couple’s children.
Establishing a Child Support Order in Oregon
Child support may be established through:
- An administrative hearing which the State of Oregon filed
- Through a paternity action filed by a party
- In a petition for custody action between unmarried parents
- In a dissolution of a marriage
Determining Child Support in Oregon
Child support in Oregon is calculated using a formula and an online child support calculator to determine the amount of child support to be paid to the custodial parent by the non-custodial parent, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The formula is based on a number of factors, including each parent’s income, spousal support paid and received, number of overnight visits each child spends with each parent, number of joint and non-joint children, and child care and health insurance needs.
Child support in Oregon is generally paid until the child’s 18th birthday (or 21st birthday if the child is attending school full-time). Child support is not deductible by the person paying such support and not included in the income of the person receiving such support.
In Oregon, the court uses a formula which takes into account many factors including the parties’ income, the parties’ parenting plan, child care costs, medical insurance costs, and uninsured ongoing medical expenses.
If one of the parties does not have any income, the court will calculate that party’s income as their “potential” wage based on that individual’s skill set. At a bare minimum one’s “potential” wage will be calculated as forty hours of work at Oregon’s current minimum wage.
Some of the other factors that the court frequently uses in calculating child support in Oregon are:
- The number of children the parents have
- The number of non-joint children in the family (e.g. children of a given parent from a prior marriage or relationship)
- The amount of parenting time each party has with the child
- The amount of each parent’s income including salary, wage, commission, advances, bonuses, dividends, Social Security payments, worker’s compensation payments, and unemployment benefits
- The amount of spousal support payments (Note: If the parents are not married, the court cannot award spousal support payments.)
The court typically uses an amount that is close to what the calculator calculates unless one party can show that the amount is unjust or inappropriate because of particular facts using what are called “rebuttal factors.”
Rebuttal factors which may justify a deviation from the presumed amount include, but are not limited to:
- Resources or net income of one of the parents
- Necessities of one of the parents
- One parent’s ability to borrow
- The number and needs of other dependents
Enforcing & Collecting Child Support in Oregon
Oregon and federal law provide for withholding of child support payments from the compensation paid to the paying party. If the paying party is delinquent in his or her child support payments, the receiving party may try and collect such payments through interception of tax refunds due to the paying party, suspension of professional and drivers licenses of paying party, and contempt proceedings.
Assistance may be available to the paying party at no charge through the district attorney’s office in the county where the receiving party lives. The court can require child support payments to be made to a bank account through the court clerk or Department of Human Resources. Child support payments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Modifying Child Support Orders in Oregon
Every two years either parent can ask the support enforcement division of their local district attorney’s office to recalculate, at no charge, the child support payments which would be due based on the current income figures of the parties. Either party may also request a recalculation at any time if there has been a substantial change of circumstances (i.e. significant changes in either parent’s income). Generally, child support which was due prior to the filing of a motion to modify/terminate such support cannot be modified or terminated.